By Luis Manuel Aguana
A week after the agreement reached in the National Assembly regarding the sentence passed by the legitimate Supreme Court sentencing Nicolás Maduro Moros to 18 years and 3 months in prison, we Venezuelans were waiting for something to happen, and what some of us expected happened: NOTHING. The National Assembly very skilfully ratified the decision of January last year concerning the famous “abandonment of office” of Nicolas Maduro, an agreement on which they never initiated the corresponding procedures.
They urged the security agencies to comply with the agreements of the National Assembly, reiterated that the constitutional order is broken, confirmed that there is a power vacuum in Venezuela, and urged that a consultation be initiated with “all sectors of Venezuelan society to promote a process of re-establishment of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, as mandated by Articles 333 and 350 of the Constitution, and as reiterated in the popular consultation of 16 July 2017” (see in Spanish, Acuerdo del 21 de Agosto de 2018, Ratificación de la decisión de la AN de declarar el abandono del cargo de Nicolás Maduro Moros sobre su responsabilidad penal por hechos de corrupción, at http://www.asambleanacional.gob.ve/actos/_acuerdo-de-ratificacion-de-la-decision-de-la-asamblea-nacional-de-declarar-el-abandono-del-cargo-de-nicolas-maduro-moros-y-sobre-su-responsabilidad-penal-por-hechos-de-corrupcion-vinculados-a-la-empre).
They were good with everyone, and in a cat-pardian way they changed the previous arguments but so that everything would be the same as on January 9, 2017: frozen. The difference is that the political situation in the country on 9 January 2017 was very different from that on 21 August 2018, the date of the last agreement. What hope can we Venezuelans have that something different will happen, with a new ratification agreement than the one made on 9 January 2017, if nothing has happened so farwith the agreement of that date? Could it be that they think we’re stupid?
Could the National Assembly ratify the “abandonment of office” of Nicolás Maduro on 21 August 2018, when there had been an unconstitutional presidential election earlier, on 20 May 2018, which completely invalidated any act by Maduro of swearing in an illegitimate body? Could they ignore the fact that elections had been unconstitutionally called by an illegitimate National Constituent Assembly, which did not exist in January 2017?
Last year, the National Assembly was perfectly able to summon the then Vice President of the Republic Tarek El Aissami to take office as President or to decide on his dual nationality, as a consequence of the Abandonment Agreement, so that he could call for elections in the following 30 consecutive days, because on that date it was in the first four years of the constitutional mandate, as stated in Article 233 of the Constitution. If the Vice-Chairman ignored it, the Assembly would have to take the necessary decisions to fill the gap. That was the procedure to follow and they deliberately ignored it to the detriment of the Venezuelans.
The Agreement of the National Assembly of 21 August 2018 aims to leave in limbo the appointment of a government to replace the current one, with the pilgrim argument of the “impossibility” of being able to carry out this appointment because the regime has de facto power. Nothing could be further from the truth. Regardless of the fact that his appointment did not bring a new President to Miraflores, it was the constitutional obligation of the National Assembly to appoint him, in accordance with the ruling of the legitimate Supreme Court of Justice of July 2, 2018:
“SECOND: It is imposed on this Tribunal in compliance with the supreme mandate to ensure the integrity of the constitution and the order established in it (Article 334 of the Constitution) to put an end to the institutional disorder currently reigning in the State, which, in case if extended, it could threaten the foundational foundations of our Republic; therefore, THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BOLIVARIAN REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA CORRESPONDS, by extensive application in the line of succeeding to the office of President of the Republic, in virtue of the evident absolute lack that currently surrounds the Presidency of the Republic and the tacit waiver that the Executive Vice President incurred in opting for another public office improperly assigned, THAT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FIRST PART OF ARTICLE 233 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE BOLIVARIAN REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA, SUPRA MENTIONED, PROCEDURE TO FILL THE CONSTITUTIONAL VACUUM OF THE PRESIDENCY OF THE REPUBLIC, until presidential elections can be held, prior appointment of new Rectors of the National Electoral Council, purification and updating of the Electoral Registry and Manual Voting, among other necessary minimum conditions, adjusted in everything, to what is ordered in the sentence of the Electoral Chamber of this Supreme Court dated 06/13/2018, File SE-2018-001. “(seein Spanish, Sentencia del TSJ-L declarando la Falta Absoluta en la Presidencia de Venezuela y decreta URGENCIA de llenar el vacío de poder conforme a la Constitución de la República, on the official Twitter of the TSJ-L at https://twitter.com/TSJ_Legitimo/status/1014611587745886211) (underlined our).
It is extremely important the point “until presidential elections can be held” according to “the order of the Electoral Chamber” ruling dated June 13, 2018: this is basically the appointment of legitimate Rectors, purification and updating of the Electoral Registry, and Manual Vote. Nothing is further from the convenience of the government or its opposition.
Even if that appointed government were to be persecuted, its legitimacy would remain unquestioned. It is exactly the same case when the National Assembly appointed the legitimate judges last year. They were persecuted, but this did not prevent them from being appointed, replacing the “express” magistrates, who were illegally appointed by the last legislature presided over by Diosdado Cabello in December 2015, because that was the obligation of the National Assembly.
Likewise, the new magistrates could not even reach their headquarters because the government unleashed a cruel persecution and jail for them. So what’s the game now? Why not appoint a new government? Is it because I’d be equally persecuted by the regime? Don’t tell me! Although they were able to make provisions for that, they had no intention of doing so because the strongest (AD and company) already have commitments with the regime to reach the electoral process with the government by next December. The theme for these parties is not to change Maduro but to live with him and give the chance to everyone to get to December for a new election, while we all starve to death trying to buy food with a currency that is worth less each day than the previous one and Venezuelans are fleeing the country en masse. That’s criminal.
The scenario is now different from January 2017 when the National Assembly declined the appointment of a government, and even more different than when the people asked for it again at the Popular Consultation on July 16, 2017. Now there is a conviction against Nicolás Maduro Moros for his own corruption and money laundering, which deserves not only the urgency of filling this constitutional vacuum in the face of the international community, but also the urgency of immediately resolving a situation of extreme gravity of the economy and a humanitarian crisis with implications of mass exodus of the population. Now more than ever there is justification for a government that urgently assumes the responsibility of taking the decisions that will begin to resolve, with the help of the continent, the critical situation that we Venezuelans are suffering, so that it does not dispatch from Miraflores, but outside the country.
I have no doubt that some will come out and say that if it is not from Miraflores you cannot govern. And I would tell them that the legitimate TSJ is producing sentences of unquestionable validity, such as Maduro’s sentence, and they are not in the Supreme Court of Justice on Baralt Avenue. This insistence of the National Assembly to limit itself because “it is not possible to govern from Venezuela” leaves the people they claim to represent defenseless in a criminal manner. Well, when the organs of the Public Power refuse to recognize the demands of the citizens, we have the legitimate right to defend ourselves and to go to the jurisdictional organs to request what is denied us.
As of August 21, 2018, the National Assembly and the majority of the political factions that lead it, decided for reasons of convenience – and not that of the people they represent – to extend indefinitely a problem that requires immediate attention, ignoring the urgent cry of the country. We Venezuelans cannot wait another minute for solutions to begin to arrive and stop the destruction of Venezuela. Since June 28, 2018, a group of citizens among whom I am honored to participate, attended the legitimate Supreme Court of Justice to request the urgent appointment of a National Emergency Government (see in Spanish the complete request at https://tinyurl.com/y7x87ldb) to begin to give solutions to the problems that Venezuelans suffer. The Courts are not to decide a political situation on their own but at the request of the citizens by providing justice. And that is what we now expect from the legitimate TSJ. They now have the word.
Caracas, August 27, 2018